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February 15, 2005


Meeting Notes

February marks our second anniversary as a club, and what better way to celebrate than with a polka or two!

Our Polka Night February 8 drew 65-70 people, including many who came just to dance and who looked like they'd been practicing for quite a few years! Our members played a wide variety of polka music on the piano accordion, bayan and Chemnitzer concertina, and the dancing definitely pumped up the mood and added to the entertainment.

After a couple of opening numbers by Elise, our youngest member, Mike Rubin instructed the uninitiated in some basic polka steps to Ken Yegelski's concertina accompaniment. With that, the evening took off (see the program below).

A big thank you to everyone who contributed with a tune, a turn on the floor, refreshments, a hand in setting up or cleaning up, or two hands brought together in applause. One new member, Oak, contributed a big pot of kielbasa and sauerkraut, along with a humongous loaf of bread, and many others brought snacks to share. In addition, Karen and Luis ordered us a delicious tres leches birthday cake.

Polka Night will definitely happen again, but we also want to try an evening of waltzes or other types of dancing.

WMAS Business

In the business portion of the meeting, we recognized Joan Grauman as the new vice president. Other officers for this year are Karen as president, Mara as secretary/treasurer, Paul Przedpelski as membership chair, Jim Vandelly as communications chair, and Anne Johnson as special events chair.

We distributed a draft copy of the WMAS bylaws (and also emailed copies). Please review these so we can vote to accept them at the March meeting. In answer to one member's question: specifics about dues amounts, payment timeframe and the membership list -- which may change regularly -- will be separate policies rather than bylaw provisions. The dues policy is posted here, and the bylaws will be posted as soon as they're accepted.

Your 2005 dues are payable now. Please send your $15 to Mara Cherkasky, 1801 Park Road, NW, Apt. 8, Washington, DC 20010, or pay at the next meeting.

Upcoming Meetings

At our next meeting, March 8 , Jim Vandelly will present a workshop on bellows techniques. If you've seen Jim play, you'll know his bellows shake is out of this world. Bring your accordion.

In April , Peter DiGiovanni will present part 2 of his "playing by ear" program. The first part was excellent, but we ran out of time, so this is the follow-up.

In May we'll hold our second annual spring concert . We'd like to limit the concert to about 90 minutes, so the number of players/selections will have to be limited. Signup starts now.

Announcements, etc.

The Maryland Accordion Society meets this Saturday, Feb. 19, from 2 to 5 pm at the Bloomsbury Community Center (2nd floor auditorium),106 Bloomsbury Avenue,
Catonsville, Md. 21228. Also, MAC is raffling off two certificates for a weekend at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. A weekend at the Willard (two nights) is worth $1,000! Think what a great gift this would make. For more information or directions, email mdaccordion@aol.com or call Joe Fertitta at (410) 744-3352.

The 18th Annual American Accordion Musicological Society Festival and Symposium will be held March 4-6 at the Wyndam Valley Forge Suites in Wayne, Pa. For more information, see www.aamsaccordionfestival.com. Several WMAS members will be attending the festival; contact us if you would like to arrange a ride.

Russian bayanist Viacheslav Semionov will perform at a house concert in Potomac, Md., on Sunday, March 13, at 7 pm. Admission is $20, payable in advance, and seats are limited. For more information, please contact Dan or Joan Grauman at (301) 279-8716 or danjgrauman@comcast.net.

Ms. Marti Hamlet has asked if any of us would be interested in playing the accordion at the McLean Retirement Home. It would be a volunteer position. For more information, please call the office administrator at (703) 442-8660.

A message from Al Meixner: Just a little note to let you know that our 2005 #1 catalog is now online and in effect. We have lots of new items, grammy nominees and my personal note, of course. Hard copies were sent out last weekend to all of our "snail mail" music family. Remember, the quickest way to order is by phone, using your credit card - Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm Eastern time, (610) 261-3881. Check out the offerings at http://www.almeixner.com/ (click on Mail Order Music Catalog). Hope you find something that you like. While you're there at "almeixner.com", check out the Al Meixner Trio pages. Until catalog #2 is ready, stay warm, healthy, happy & musical. Best wishes, AL MEIXNER

Silvia Eberly regretfully missed Polka Night because she was playing German and Zydeco music for a film opening . In "SCHULTZE GETS THE BLUES," a retired German man spends his plentiful free time playing the accordion in a polka band at the local pub. Bored with his life, he becomes reinvigorated when he hears zydeco music. Inspired, his passion for this non-traditional music alienates him from the locals and sends him on a trek to the swamps of Louisiana to find the heart of zydeco. Paramount Classics (1hr 54min). Opens soon at E Street Cinema.
CAST: Horst Krause, Harald Warmbrunn, Karl Fred Müller, Ursula Schucht, Hannelore Schubert. DIRECTOR/WRITER: Michael Schorr

Story submitted by Paul Aebersold (preceded by commentary): This story is just wrong; in no way could an accordion player earn more than twice the income of a stripper, even in Canada.

Stripper Wins Damages After Tiger Attack

Jan 30, TORONTO (Reuters) - A stripper mauled by a tiger in an Ontario safari park
has won $650,000 in damages because her scars meant she could no longer
work, Canadian media said on Friday.

Jennifer-Anne Cowles was driving through the park nearly nine years ago
with her then boyfriend when a tiger jumped into their car and tried to drag
them away. The two insisted their windows had been shut when the tiger charged,
although the park had challenged that.

The judge accepted the couple's testimony that the power windows had been
inadvertently lowered when one of the big cats bumped against the car,
frightening them.

In a ruling delivered on Thursday and reported in a number of Canadian
newspapers, Justice Jean MacFarland said she could only imagine the "stark
terror experienced by these young people during this horrendous event."

She awarded Cowles some $650,000 in damages, almost half of it to
compensate for income she would have made as a stripper.

Her musician boyfriend, David Balac, won C$1.7 million, because his
injuries left him unable to work as an accordion player.

African Lion Safari, near Hamilton, Ontario, west of Toronto, said it is
reviewing the ruling, but it insisted the park was safe.

"Hundreds of millions of people drive through safari style parks worldwide
every decade and there are very few incidents causing injury," it said in a
statement. "It is one of the safest activities you can do with your

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Polka Night Program

Elise Malouf - Can Can Polka & Parade Polka
Ken Yegelski - tunes on the Chemnitzer Concertina
Karen Malan-Uribe - Julida Polka
Phil Fox - Helena Polka & Mama's Pajamas
Lee Paulson & Barbara Lockett - Just Because, a Lithuanian Polka & Sakijarven
Joan Grauman & Stella Allison - Kitty Whiskers Polka & Achtung Los Polka
Paul Aebersold - Hoop-de-do
Vic Aijala - Finnish & Swedish polkas
Rick Nunno & Mara Cherkasky - Hupaj Siupaj Medley & Zosia Polka
Ellen Sellers - Vijando en Polka
Barbara Lockett - Viva Seguin, Rain Rain & Finger Polka
Leone Monticone & Mara Cherkasky - Broken Reed Polka
Bob Duca - Tic Toc Polka
Anne Johnson & Ellen Sellers - Village Tavern
Ken Kunec - Too Fat Polka
Jim Vandelly - Koketka Polka

Dance instruction by Michael B. Rubin